Monday, January 30, 2012

I Am In Photog HEAVEN!!!!:: Columbus, Ohio Photographer

Every photographer has their wish list. A list of the next lenses they want to purchase, the next camera body they want to obtain, the props they would like to add to their collection, and even the next shoot they want to accomplish.

ALOT has been happening to my little business. I have been asked to shoot a few weddings, the newborns are rolling in, and I have my first BIG marketing "campaign" on the horizon. However, this weekend was filled with lines being drawn through my checklist!

As a portrait photographer, there were very specific lenses I wanted in my camera bag. The first one was easy to obtain. It is so lovingly called the "nifty-fifty" by photogs because of the inexpensive price tag and the amazing images you get with it, my 50mm 1.4. This was the first one I bought after starting out. It has been my main "go-to" lens for most of my shoots. However, I have been researching and even had my wish list pinned on Pintrest.

~85mm 1.8- according to my mentor, every portrait photographer should have this lens. It allows you to get intimate moments without being up in the client's face. Great for weddings!

~24-70mm 2.8L- A great "claustrophobic" lens as I like to call it. It allows for great shots in tight places where you may not be able to "back up a little further" and the aperture allows for shooting in lower light and at lower ISO and higher shutter speeds (SS), allowing for crisper images.

~ 70-200 2.8L~ this one is for close-ups from further away....for instance church weddings. Also having a great aperture allowing for non-flash photography that is sometimes required in Catholic churches.

~ Eventually the 50mm 1.2- however, this is not a MUST since I have the 1.4

~And of COURSE a full frame camera body! I want the 5D mark ii but have been debating holding off till the Mark iii comes out.

~ Canon 580 EX II flash

Call it coincidence, call it fate, but I happened to log onto craigslist, as I often do when I have the itch to buy a new piece of glass or prop, and happened upon a listing for ALL of the above! One little adjustment, however. Instead of a 5D mark ii, he was selling the original version, the 5D Mark (Mark i). It is still a full frame camera, but just the older model.  And instead of the 580, he was selling the 420 EX...once again, an older model, but still a great flash to use until I am ready to upgrade.

I started reading reviews and researching the camera. It all seemed to check out. All but one of the reviews were positive, and the negative review had comments accusing him of not being a REAL photographer because he had no clue what he was talking about. The price this man was offering ALL of this PLUS more was less than what 2 of the lenses cost. I talked to Foster about it. He asked me if I bought this package would I be set. I answered yes, other than EVENTUALLY I would sell my 50D to put towards the Mark ii..but that would be at LEAST a year or two down the road. He told me to call and haggle with the guy.

I did. I told him what I would offer ($200 less than what he had it listed for) knowing that the asking price was MORE than generous. He said he would call me back if he didn't get offered the full asking price. 20 minutes later I called him back. I couldn't risk losing this  amazing package over $200. So, yesterday, i walked into starbucks and for the price of 2 of these lenses (used) I purchased the following:

~ Canon 5D
~ 7...YES 7 extra batteries
~ DUAL battery charger
~ Not 1, not 2, but 3 memory cards! 2-8GB and 1-4GB
~ 85mm 1.8 w/ hood
~ 24-70 mm 2.8L w/ hood
~ 80-200mm 2.8L w/ hood
~ battery grip with the portrait button!
~ and a Temba Messenger Camera bag to hold everything in!

all the goods...minus the bag:-)
I could not be anymore excited! This is like photographer HEAVEN. They need a little cleaning, but other than that they are in great working order. The camera has less than 20,000 photos taken so far with it, and has a LONG life ahead of it:-) Now I won't have to rent back up equipment for weddings because I have it all available on hand!

That is not all! I have been pining over SMALL antique lounging couches for months. I think it would be PRECIOUS to put a newborn on one, or even a 1yr-18 month baby on it. I have seen a few in antique stores, but their pricetags read $300+. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw a local auction house would be selling one w/ a starting bid of $20! I signed up for online bidding, and waited anxiously for hours as the lot number approached. The bidding began. I was willing to pay up to $150 for it. I won! Total price: $80!!!!!!!! I can't WAIT to use it this weekend on a little newborn girl I have scheduled:-)

my beautiful child's fainting couch
As you can tell, I had a GREAT weekend! I am so excited to play around with all my new toys this week!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Then..and Now

I have been pondering this question ever since the new year....where I have come from, and where am I going?

I look back to my pictures a year ago, and how my pictures have progressed over the past year. I have become more comfortable with my camera, in my own skin, in the studio, and using natural light. I joined a few forums, took some online classes, and have read as much as I can get my hands on (without going broke;-)

I reflect on all the families that have allowed me to enter into their lives to capture their moments, and have helped me inmprove my craft. I know it is silly, but even after getting discs to clients, I still keep pictures on my external hard drive for myself to look back and enjoy (call me a digital hoarder). I even keep a few raw files in the event I purchase new preset actions for photoshop and want to try them out on old photos.

Everytime I get behind that camera, I think of my beautiful girl, Rosalynn. If not for her passing, I would never be doing this. The inspiration to live life to the fullest and not to take life for granted has molded me over the last year. An d one thing I think of as I am pushing that shutter button and then processing in Photo shop is "I hope this makes her proud of me."

So here is just a glimpse of how my craft has progressed over the past year:

NOW! By NO means am I saying that ANY of these before pictures are bad, personally I LOVE all of them, BUT all of these were in my portfolio building stages, and these are all friends of mine and their families who allowed me to try out my craft on them. AND, by no means am I saying I have perfected anything. I HOPE to do nothing but continue to grow, and learn this year. All I am saying is that through learning and trial and error of this past year, I have least in my own opinion.

My VERY first newborn shoot. Cute, but with a little more knowlegdge of photo shop could have been SOOO much better (i may play with this one a little bit:-)

Again...the first shoot. This coloring technique is a favorite of some...but i have learned that with babies, it is better to stay AWAY from the sephias and orange tinting, b/c then it just makes them look jaundiced (and the goal is if they ARE jaundiced is to take the yellow OUT!)

The most recent newborn shoot. I had added a few cute hats, soft fabrics, learned some tricks to keep babies asleep, learned how to pose them, and learned how to soften and clear up baby skin. OH...and the previous pictures were with using flash while this is using natural light from the parent's sliding glass door!

this IS a self portrait, but one that I LOVE. I love the original color one alittle better, but in talking about photoshop actions to change a photo, yellow is out, and B&W is in:-)

This was actually a VERY succesful shoot, and one that I was vey pleased w/ the results...but once again, it WAS my very first one...and I have come a long way:-)
You probaby see nothing glaringly wrong with this one either...but small things get to the small line on the high key (white back drop) that is paint. I didn'tknow how to photoshop that at the time. and the pose is nice, but I have found others i like better:-)

This was my most recent shoot (not even completely done being edited yet!) and the use of natural light, the pose, and the thoughtful look on her face are just sooo much more refined in my opinion.

Over the past year, I have really improved my photoshopping skills...and this photo is a great example!!!

This picture is an example of how I have started introducing personal objects into photos. This guitar is a symbol of her mother who passed a year and a half ago. THe emotion I get when looking at this photo is also what I hope she feels (even if NO ONE else understands or "gets" it)

My wish for this next year is that I can perfect the outdoor lighting. Wether it be with reflectors, or just better positioning of my subjects. The sun can be a tricky thing. I also want to continue to improve my photoshopping skills. I have just scratched the surface of what all this program can do! Of course I would like to upgrade/add new equipment to my bag of tricks, but that is the last thing on my list, because there is still ALOT I can improve on with my current gear. Above all, I want to continue and improve upon getting the best photos I can to the people that come into my life for that brief hour and a half. Making the photos beautiful and PERSONAL.

I want to make my daughter proud as she smiles down on me from heaven. She is my inspiration behind all of this!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pro Print vs. Supermarket Prints

One of the topics I hear brought up a lot is why pay for professional prints instead of getting the disc and printing them off at one of your local pharmacies or grocery stores?

I had a friend learn this lesson the hard way recently. I had done a mini session with their family for Christmas photos. When I sent them the disc, I told them I would suggest a good online print place, or I would assist them in printing at my processor. A few days later I received an email saying the prints looked awful. That they had gone to one of the local bulk stores and ordered online through them.

I am not sure if many of you are aware, but many online ordering places will automatically condense photo files to a more manageable size. When I download files onto DVDs for my clients, I have not only full sized files (which can reach upwards of 15MB per file), but I also include condensed versions to put on their facebook profiles and other online social networks. That condensed file is approximately the size that online printers will automatically downsize to if you don't turn the option off before downloading the images to their site. This unfortunately makes larger prints seem grainy and pixilated, which is exactly what happened to their photos. They came to me, I had them printed off at my processor, and they admitted there was a HUGE difference!

Another plus to using professional processors to print your photos is because they usually have an auto color correct. Sure, I calibrate my screen, but sometimes stuff happens, and my colors on my computer may be off. What I see on my screen may not be what prints off if not corrected, and may even look different on your screen. Their correction makes it so the skin tones are appropriate.

Of course then there is always the quality of the paper. Pro paper will last a lifetime or more. The paper is made to resist fading and deterioration. Most supermarket's basic paper is not like this. Sure, you can always upgrade to their premium prints, but why when the pro prints are about the same price online.

I found an online example of the actual image versus the supermarket print (because this is discussed a lot in the photography world). You tell me which one you would want hanging on your wall. I know as a photographer, I would rather my art be printed on quality paper, because your home is my gallery, and I would LOVE for my photos to look the best they can for you.

I know, I know...."Erin, WHERE do I go then?!?" If you want quality prints, of COURSE you can go through me:-) However, I know this isn't always the most convenient. It takes my processor up to a week to print and sometimes longer if there are special techniques, requests being done to the photos. SO, if you are the type who prefers to do print shopping online, use It is one of the most used sites of professional photographers as well. Their prices are reasonable, and the quality is amazing! I had the pleasure of walking into a clients house recently. I looked around, and my photos were EVERYWHERE!!! She said she had printed off mpix and had loved the results, even though she had to pay a little more than if she had gone to her local supermarket. I was soooo honored that she had used a quality printer, AND I was honored that soooo many of my shots were around her home. I am serious, I felt like I could have a gallery opening in her living room:-) I LOVED IT!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Before and After

Although newborn photography requires quite a bit of patience, skill, and a hefty bag of tricks, some of those great shots also require some good Photo Shop skills.

Although I don't know the exact steps I took for each of these shots, I figured I would share a few before (Straight out of the camera) shots and the after (once I have done some post processing in photo shop). I use a combination of Adobe Lightroom 3, PSCS5, and Elements 9.


With this shot I increased the blacks, adjusted the exposure and brightness, added a little softening, and created the second photo....still one of my favorite "baby and parent" on black background...almost like a floating effect.



This shot was rotated, the blacks brought up,  softening, brightness adjustment, and then color selection to make her name POP.

This was probably one of the ones that the before and after are a DRASTIC difference. This is actually me. I set my husband up for this shot and made him push the shutter button. Of course we are all VERY critical of ourselves, but I thought the before picture was AWFUL, and had no clue how I was going to make a respectable picture out of it. Well, I cropped, slightly rotated, softened my skin and erased blemishes, and turned it to B&W. It went from an unusable picture, to one that actually hangs in my home now!

Here are a few more before and after shots with other shoots:



Lighting and color wise, this photo was pretty spot on, however, I needed to crop it to get all the random studio stuff out, and then just popped it with a little color boost.



This is now a highly demanded shot with my maternity clients. It was my first go at it, and surprisingly came out beautiful! Yes, that is HER U/S picture of her daughter. I took a photo of the U/S and superimposed the photo onto her belly in photo shop. Then, obviously, I turned the whole thing black and white. I think it looks better in B&W then leaving the mom in color and the U/S in B&W. I love how it looks like they are looking at each other.

If you know what your strengths are in editing, you can see the potential of the shot that is taken. If shot in RAW, you can even fix MOST of the photos you may have under or over exposed.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Children Photos

We have covered my recent newborn, maternity, and family. Today I am posting a few children's photos. As I mentioned in the Family shoot, children, especially around 2-5/6 are the hardest to keep interested in a photo shoot. You have about 30-45 mins (if that) before they lose interest and don't want to be bothered any more. Every once in a while, I have to recruit the help of the parents to swing, tickle, kiss, and play with the kids:-)

I have been pretty blessed with the kids that have come my way so far:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Family Photos

I have posted newborn photos and maternity photos. Today I am going to post a few of my recent family photo shoots. Family shoots were probably my hardest shoots to get into the "groove". There are a lot more people to coordinate and harder, in my opinion, to be more creative. However, I finally started to get it. It is all about keeping the kid's attention in order to keep stress off the parents. If the kids are upset, then the family gets upset, and then the entire shoot is shot (and not in the way we want it to be). If you keep the kids engaged, then the parents are happy and then the pictures start to come together.

Outdoor is almost always a hit with little ones, because they can play and run around. However, around Christmas, and during the winter, it gets cold, and I resort to the studio for those who don't want to venture in the cold. Toys and props are a MUST for the young kids. I noticed if I get them involved, and having fun, we get some great shots!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Recent Maternity Photos

I showed a few of my latest newborn pictures yesterday. However, I have also been doing a lot more than that!! Here is a sample of my most recent maternity shoots:

There is something soooo beautiful about a woman who is carrying a child. capturing those sweet moments between the expectant parents, and the love that is in the mother's eyes as she looks down at her belly, knowing that her child is growing big and strong in there is what makes me LOVE these particular sessions.

Once again, please feel free to check out more or my maternity photos on my official website, Irish Eyes Photography.

Monday, January 2, 2012

This Blog is BACK!! And some Newborn Photos

I will be starting to utilize this Blogger for not only showing you my newest shoots and sharing them with my clients, but I will also be posting the occasional post about outfits, and tips and tricks of photography and photo shoots.

I would like to share a few of my most recent favorite photo shoot. Since I last wrote a post on this blog, I have really come a long way in my photography. I have been teaching myself different Photo Shop tricks and being more creative with every shoot that I do.

Some say I have found my "niche" in newborn photography and maternity. I see where they are coming from, but I would like to continue to improve in all aspects of portrait photography as I continue my journey in this new profession.

Some of my most recent Newborns:

These are just a few of MANY newborns I have had the pleasure of photographing since the last time I posted. You can check them all out @ my official Irish Eyes Photography Website.